St. Louis hospital reports success using experimental COVID-19 drug

Coronavirus

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — A St. Louis Hospital is using an experimental drug to treat COVID-19 patients, and it’s keeping them out of the hospital.

When former President Donald Trump was hospitalized with the coronavirus last year, he recovered after being treated with a special experimental monoclonal antibody cocktail.

But is the monoclonal therapy a game-changer?

“While I believe in this therapy, I don’t know I would call it a game-changer,” said Dr. Bruce Hall, vice president of BJC Healthcare and chief quality officer. “Right now it is probably the only therapy we have for this kind of patient, a patient early in the disease who is at risk of getting worse.”

Pharmaceutical companies Regeneron and Eli Lilly say the cocktail shows promising results when used in patients 65 and older and in those at high risk who are in the early stages of infection.

BJC in St. Louis has been using the drug under emergency authorization with positive patient outcomes.

“We’ve treated more than 400 patients now and we’ve seen very, very few who need to be admitted to the hospital afterward that’s the main thing to watch for right, because that’s what we’re trying to prevent,” Hall said. “For every 15 patients that we can get in and get treated, we’ll be able to prevent one of them from getting into the hospital so that is the measure of effectiveness, and we believe that means the therapy is really worth doing.”

However, though there is evidence that it could possibly be used for preventive care, it’s not definitive.

“That’s a great question,” Hall said. “There is some early evidence that it can be used for people who have been exposed and who might not be sick yet.”

The monoclonal antibody therapy is still undergoing clinical trials and is not yet available to the general public.

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